Shell issues force majeure after upset at Singapore ethylene complex

Royal Dutch Shell PLC has declared a force majeure on base chemical products from the Pulau Bukom manufacturing site on Bukom Island, Singapore, following a disruption to operations at its recently expanded ethylene cracker complex (ECC) (OGJ Online, Apr. 2, 2015).

While no injuries occurred as a result of the Oct. 14 operational upset, the incident did lead to flaring from the complex as well as the declaration of force majeure, which entered effect that same day, Michael Marr, spokesman for Shell Chemical, told OGJ via e-mail on Oct. 16.

The company is working to resume normal operations and supply as soon as possible to minimize potential impacts on customers, Marr said.

Additional details regarding the nature of the ECC upset or its ultimate impact to production at the site were not disclosed.

In April, Shell concluded a long-planned upgrade and expansion of the Bukom Island ECC, which along with the nearby 500,000-b/d Pulau Bukom refinery and 750,000-tonne/year monoethylene glycol plant on Jurong Island, forms part of the company’s fully integrated Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex (OGJ Online, Sept. 16, 2015; July 27, 2006).

The debottlenecking and expansion project increased ethylene production capacity at the ECC to more than 1 million tpy from its previous 800,000-tpy capacity.

In August, a fire broke out on an unidentified unit at the Pulau Bukom refinery during planned maintenance activities, resulting in injuries to six contract workers (OGJ Online, Aug. 25, 2015; Aug. 21, 2015).

As of early October, two of those workers remained hospitalized, according to an Oct. 2 statement from Shell.

An investigation into the Aug. 21 incident remains ongoing, the company said.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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